Re: Observations of NEAR

Bart De Pontieu (BDP@MPE.MPE-GARCHING.MPG.DE)
Tue, 20 Feb 1996 16:56:46 +0100 (CET)

Jay Respler wrote:

>On Mon, 19 Feb 1996, Jim Scotti wrote:
>> With the help of George Lewis at JPL, we were able to get images of the 
>> NEAR spacecraft about 15-16 hours after launch on Sunday morning using 
>> the Spacewatch telescope on Kitt Peak.  Robert Jedicke carried out the 
>> observation, getting 6 images over a bit more than half an hour.  The 
>> spacecraft and its booster appear as 2 faint trails in the images, the 
>> brighter being around V magnitude 20.0-20.5 while the fainter is about a 
>> magnitude fainter.  The spacecraft was between about 310,000 and 320,000 
>> kilometers from Earth at the time.  I have made the images available as a 
>Good job! 

Yeah, great job!

> Is this a record distance for observation of a spacecraft?

I don't think so. Paraphrasing from Paul Maley's 'resume' for Eurosom 2:

'During the first earth flyby of the Galileo spacecraft Paul Maley 
established a new long distance record for observation of a man-made object 
 --- 600,000km which was done with an 81 cm reflecting telescope. 
The observation was mentioned briefly in a news note in SKY AND 
TELESCOPE magazine.'

Cheers,
   Bart De Pontieu <bdp@mpe.mpe-garching.mpg.de> 
                   <http://www.rzg.mpg.de/~bdp/satintro.html>